Friday, September 30, 2011

Preschool Soccer

So Creed joined his first soccer team this year.  He was pretty excited about the new shoes that he said helped him run super fast.
 Four-year-old soccer is one of the most entertaining sports around.  They are so terrible it is funny. At any given time there may be extra players on the field or kids stopping to practice summersaults or pulling crackers out of their pocket to have a snack.  Several times in every game you'll see the coach ask all the players to point in the direction they are supposed to go because they regularly score goals in the wrong goal.
We loved cheering for Creed.  My parents made it to almost every game and Larry's parents came to help out at the two games that I missed so he had quite the cheering section.
He's so big he was about a head taller than the rest of the team.

His favorite Gal Pal from our neighborhood, Lydia was on his team so most of the games he'd prefer to sit on the sidelines snacking with her.

  He was so thrilled to get his medal at the end of the game last night.  He's been dying to have a medal or a trophy and that's about the only thing that motivated him to sign up for soccer so Larry had a plan to run out and buy him a trophy if they didn't get anything because he would have been crushed.  Luckily, he was all smiles and he's been wearing his medal all day today.

Larry's birthday Hullabaloo!

 Mr. Ford had a birthday yesterday. I knew he wouldn't have much time for celebrations on his actual birthday so I surprised him with Spoil Larry Day on Saturday.  In the morning I handed him nine little envelopes with cards directing him to his plans for the day.
Larry's the kind of guy who will say he just wants a hug or dinner together for his birthday, and with all the chaos that has ensued this last year, I'm afraid he's been gypped on Father's Day and our anniversary so I wanted to make up for it.  

I almost asked for a day alone for my birthday to do whatever I like because as much as I love my children, it's almost impossible to try on new jeans or have a relaxing lunch with them in tow, and it's nice to have the opportunity to do things like that once in a while.  Larry always wants to spend his birthdays as a family, but I knew he needed a chance to do a few things on his own too so I tried to plan the day to be a mixture of the two.

I had a few letterpressed little cards from Sycamore Street Press so I wrote an activity on each one and Larry had to complete it before he opened the next one. Most of them were simple things that I knew would please him like, downloading some new songs for the soundtrack to his day (his I-tunes wish list is a mile long because he sticks to an agreement that we made when he was in medical school to only buy one song a month) and a few apps in case he got stuck in line anywhere.

The second one was to meet up with us for brunch.  Third was get a haircut (he's been saying he's needed a haircuts for days, but we've just been to busy). Fourth, stop a Barnes and Noble, browse all you want and don't come out without a new book.  And so on.

I made a reservation for him to get a massage, but the night before he mentioned the circus was in town and he really wanted to take the boys so I cancelled the appointment and bought tickets to the circus instead.
Larry was right, the boys LOVED it!
 Ollie was enraptured by any animal act, but he especially loved the elephants.
 Since yesterday was Larry's real birthday, we couldn't let it go unnoticed.  He woke up to a note on the bathroom mirror (thank you chalk ink pen)

 He worked and then met us a Creed's last soccer game. We had just enough time to go out to dinner and end the night with a stack of Larry's favorite cookies from Flour Boys & Dough Girls (have you had their chocolate chip shortbread cookies?  SO GOOD!) before we tucked the boys into bed.
It was simple and sweet, but I think a good time was had by all.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

The latest

We have new barstools in our kitchen so we can finally get a little more use out of that island!
 We wanted something simple with just enough back that the boys wouldn't fall off, but we could still slide them all the way under the counter.  As an added bonus, that walnut finish matches our cabinets so nicely. Please ignore all the pinata making mess in the background.
In other news, you may have noticed that I still have not committed to a back splash.  I guess we need to get around to that, huh?

There's A New Sheriff in Town

 You better watch out if you're not behaving yourself!

Favorites of the Month - September 2011

Favorite food of the month - Locally grown peaches.  Utah peaches are so amazing!  We've been picking them up at the Allred's Barn in Provo.

Favorite Middle Grade Reader of the Month: Wonderstruck by Brian Selznick.  If you liked The Invention of Hugo Cabret, you'll LOVE Wonderstruck.  The illustrations are equally amazing, but the writing is so much stronger.  I'm not telling you anything about the storyline because I want it to be a surprise.  Just pick it up!

Pop-Up Book of the Month: The Yellow Square by David Carter.  Creed is obsessed with finding all the 2's in the Blue Two so we'll soon be surprising him with The Yellow Square and I know he will be thrilled.  I love all the books in the series of modern pop-up books by David Carter.

Favorite Drink of the Month: Mundet Manzana Verde.  I love Mundet's apple soda and now they have a green apple version that comes in the prettiest shade of green (so? sometimes I buy drink just because they are pretty).  Luckily, it's made with real apple juice and it tastes really good too. Plus, it's only 65 cents a bottle, found in the ethnic foods aisle of my local grocery store.

Favorite Classic Movie of the month: Without Love, because you really can't go wrong with Spencer Tracy and Katherine Hepburn

Favorite Music Video of the Month: OK Go Muppets Theme Song.  As if OK Go didn't already have the coolest music videos on the planet (my kids would spend all day watching them).

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Salt Lake City Spotlight - The Main Library

I know, I don't live in Salt Lake anymore, but I've been missing it a lot lately and I never posted about a few of my favorite places so I thought I'd post about them over the next few days.  The first stop, the Main Library Downtown.  If you've ever driven around downtown Salt Lake, I'm sure you've noticed this building, but have you had a chance to visit it?

Here are some photos from our visit with my friend Mary Ann and her girls last summer.

There are several gardens around the library where the kids love to run around.  The field of tulips on the East side of the building make my head turn each spring.
It's always an entertaining place to people watch and it doesn't hurt that Les Madeleines Bakery is across the street so you can pick up lunch and have a picnic.
The structure of the library itself is incredible. It was designed by Moshe Safdie and he deserved the award he won for it.
We always head to the children's section first.
If you go to the backwall, you'll discover some hidden rooms.
like grandma's attic
and the ice cave that makes me feel like I'm in a Superman Movie
And the children's department has it's own little garden with a wall of water

and more supersecret hiding spots.

But for the best view, you have to take the glass elevators up to the roof
don't miss all the cool artwork along the way and don't forget to see what's written on the elevators when they all line up.
The roof is the best picnic spot of all.  On my first visit, I was so surprised by how lush the garden up there is.
Be sure to check out your books before you head to the roof so you can enjoy the outdoor walk down from the roof.  You don't want to miss it!

On Parenting Quirky Little People

These little people sure have minds of their own.  As a parent, I think it's my responsibility to try to make them healthy and strong in both body and mind so they can be themselves and live their own dreams.  I'll admit that sometimes it's really hard to help them be themselves instead of who I want them to be.  Case and point:
 Creed wants to become a figure skater.

It's certainly not what I have in mind for his future, but I want him to be happy, and who am I to squelch something that he may be amazing at or he may fall in love with (even if a little part of me is really hoping this is just a phase)? He has been constantly begging for ice skating lessons since he was two and our neighbors told him about their lessons.  I insisted that he was much too little at the time, you can't start lessons until you are three.  At three I told him it was really hard and asked if we could put it off a little longer.  I was afraid I would pay for six weeks and then he would hate the first lesson, and I would have to drag him there every week or waste the money.

Well, this summer, as I was registering him for soccer this fall, I noticed the summer session for ice skating was just starting at a nearby rink, and he would only have one other child in his class.  I figured, if this was really what he wanted to do, this would be the best opportunity for him to start.

He was thrilled.  His instructor asked him if he wanted to learn to skate so he could be a hockey player and he gave her a weird look and explained, "No, I wanted to be a figure skater!"  I think she fell instantly in love.

He got out on the ice and fell and fell and fell and when the lesson ended, you couldn't wipe the grin off of his face. Our whole family has been there at times supporting him.
 Larry took him to the last lesson of the session. When Creed cried at the end because he didn't want his lessons to be over, Larry signed him up for the next session.
 He was so excited to get back on the ice this week.  They skipped him up a few levels so he's in a class with two girls who are nine and eleven. And since I'm there for 45 minutes every week, I'm taking lessons at the same time too because I might as well get a little exercise out of it.  While I don't think I have to love everything that he loves, it's nice to give it a try to be supportive too.
 So we made it a date that ended with Creed's restaurant pick
 and my favorite neighborhood ice cream shop.

So every week we head to ice skating, and quite regularly we get weird looks when Creed talks about being a figure skater, but truthfully, I wouldn't have it any other way.  I think the fact that he's having fun doing what he wants to do, even if it's not the popular choice, is the best lesson he can learn. And seeing how happy he is doing something I wouldn't have chosen for him is one of the best parenting lessons that I've learned so far.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

If I Knew You Were Coming I'd have Baked A Cake, But I Always Have Cookies On Hand

Lately, we've been making lots of cookies or should I say, cookie dough because not many of them have actually made it into the oven.  We bake a tray or two, then we put the rest on a cookie sheet and pop them into the freezer to bake or snack on later.
You can put them really close together since you're just freezing them, just make sure to put wax paper or parchment under them so they are easy to get off of the cookie sheet.  You don't need to cover them and they'll get hard pretty fast.
Then you can stack them up in a freezer proof container and you have homemade cookies on demand.
I think it would be fun to make several different kinds and divide them up to deliver to friends.

PS- If you need a good cookie recipe, this is one of my simple favorites.  I wish I could give credit where credit is due, but I got it off of a package of chocolate chips at least 12 years ago, and I have no idea what kind of chocolate chips they were.  Sorry!

Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Cookies
1 cup (2 sticks) butter softened
1 cup creamy peanut butter
1 cup sugar
1 cup packed light brown sugar (I just use whatever brown sugar I have)
2 eggs
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
2 cups chocolate chips (my friend Marta does half chocolate, half white chocolate)

Bake at 375 degrees for 8 - 10 minutes.  Makes 5 dozen cookies.

PPS- If you love cookie dough like I do, you might like this tip, my friend Melinda uses pasteurized eggs when she makes cookie dough so she can keep it in the fridge and she doesn't have to worry about any of her little ones sampling it. Brilliant, right? Why didn't I think of that on my own?

Show and Tell

We're finally getting around to hanging up some art around here. It makes it feel so much more like home, and I can't wait to share some of the fun pieces we have.  We're just starting to build up an art collection (we have a lifetime to do that, right?) so for now, we're mostly putting up art prints, but we do own one original painting from Ayn Averett.    She's been working on a series of paintings over other paintings, and I heart them.  I love the way she painted the scene to spill-over onto the frame and you can see traces of her former street art days.  Creed begged to put this painting in his room (what little boy doesn't love robots and monsters?), but we have other plans for his room. We hung it in the entryway, which now looks much less empty.

I met Ayn when we were living in London ages ago and it's been so cool to watch her develop as an artist over the years.  Plus, it's pretty great when you know an artist well enough that they come over when you plead with them to help you hang their painting up and they even let you take their picture in front of their artwork elementary-school-art-show-style.

 She's pretty great.  I wish you could all meet her in person, but you can at least check out more of her work here.